Reporters from at least five Hong Kong digital media platforms were ordered to leave a police press conference before it began on Wednesday night.

journalism media press freedom
File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Journalists had gathered for a scheduled press briefing with senior superintendent of the new national security department Steve Li. Just before his arrival, EggEggClub News, Golden, Ben Yu Entertainment Ltd, Community Media and PSHK were ordered to stop live-streaming and leave, according a Stand News live feed.

When asked by HKFP which rules, laws or regulations police were referring to when ejecting the reporters, the force did not directly answer: “It is our common practice to allow press representatives of media organisations registered with Information Services Department’s Government News and Media Information System to cover Police’s press conferences and briefings held inside government premises (including Police Headquarters and police stations),” a spokesperson said on Thursday.

Hong Kong does not have an accreditation system or official identification passes for journalists, though outlets can apply for access to government press releases and events via the Information Services Department.

The briefing was related to the arrest of four activists earlier that evening.

Accreditation fears

Last October, Chief Executive Carrie Lam denied that her administration would begin to require official registration for journalists in Hong Kong, adding that she supported the press in monitoring the government. Last week, the Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed “extreme concern” over the fining of reporters covering a shopping mall protest.

John Lee
Secretary for Security John Lee. File Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

In an interview with state-run newspaper Ta Kung Pao this week, security chief John Lee said that the authorities may target “pro-independence” media outlets.

Additional reporting: Rachel Wong.

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.